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Biryani Rice


  • 2 cups bismati rice
  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 onion (chopped small)
  • pinch saffron (in a couple tablespoons of warm water)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock

Toasted Spices

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 6 green cardamon
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon stick


  • Put the rice in a large bowl and rinse under cool water, changing the water 2-3 times until clear. Cover with fresh water and set aside.
  • Toast the spices in a dry small frying pan, shaking frequently. Once the aromas start to release and the cumin seeds begin to pop, pull off the heat.
  • Pick out the cinnamon stick, chilies, bay leaves, and cardamon and set aside. Put the cumin seeds into a small mortar and pestal and crush into a powder.

The Rice

  • In a large saucepot, heat a couple tablespoons of oil and saute the onion on medium heat, until it has softened and begins to brown
  • Drain and add the rice to the saucepot and stir to mix.
  • Add 2 cups water, the toasted spices, the powdered cumin seeds, saffron and salt and bring to a boil (uncovered).
  • Lower the head and simmer uncovered until the water has all but evaporated and then, cover, remove from heat and set aside.


If your saffon is old and doesn't quite brighten the rice, use 1 teaspoon of tumeric powder mixed through to give it a lovely golden yellow color.